Whether by leaps and bounds, stops and starts, or tiny incremental changes that over time add up to something big – technology and innovation are what keeps the travel industry moving forward. Each year, Phocuswright weighs in on what we think are the year's most important technology trends. Read on for a sneak peak at three of the trends that made this year's top 10 list. For the complete list, purchase the report.
Data, Anywhere: To consumers, the future involves the ability to access desired digital information regardless of device. To travel companies, this same future is a development and support nightmare. Businesses once had little to worry about in terms of client-facing applications – just choose between Java Script, Java and Flash with CSS. But in the wake of the proliferation of various mobile devices – the iPad, iPhone and the many devices running Android or Windows 8 – interfacing with clients has become much more difficult. The good news: there has been rapid development in technologies that enable users to access their desired information from any smart device. Successful cross-platform data access requires travel companies to track the changing user interface patterns of their customers to provide the appropriate level of service, anytime, anywhere.
Less is Better: The mantra of early online travel agencies (OTAs) was often "more is better," meaning that the OTA that showed the most flight or hotel options was clearly the best. This race led to massive investments in new technology in order to transform a travel agent's screen from a limited 19-line display into a consumer-facing interface that would show the (literally) hundreds of options. But this mountain of choices frustrated consumers and slowed the reservation process. According to the "paradox of choice," shoppers want a few choices, but not too many. The problem is figuring out which choices to offer. Targeting technology has the potential to help travel companies deliver the right product to the right traveler at the right time. As the hyper-personal mobile channel continues to grow in importance, the race is on to deliver targeted, personalized content.
A Cloudy Future?: The importance of cloud computing has been so widely hailed that even consumers feel comfortable making reference to "the Cloud." However, in an industry poll of IT executives at travel companies, Phocuswright found that 55% of respondents spent 4% or less of their total IT budgets on cloud computing, lagging far behind other industries. At this rate, travel will significantly trail other verticals in realizing the benefits of cloud services. Cloud computing has the potential not only to reduce IT costs and improve time to market, but, with cloud brokerage services, to define and develop new applications by combining multiple cloud services. The effective use of cloud computing can provide substantial competitive advantage for travel companies who make the move to increase their investment.
For more on all 10 of Phocuswright's travel technology trends – including the innovations powering them, examples and next steps – purchase Travel Innovation and Technology Trends: 2013 and Beyond.